Irish unity poll ‘realistic possibility’ in event of a hard Brexit, British minister warns

Irish unity poll ‘realistic possibility’ in event of a hard Brexit, British minister warns

THREE UK government ministers have told the BBC that an Irish unification poll is a “very real” prospect in the event of a hard Brexit.

Speaking to the BBC, three unnamed government sources suggested Nationalists could win in the event of a unification poll and that Prime Minister Theresa May has expressed concern over this possibility.

Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, a border poll can be called if there is evidence to suggest Irish unity voters were in the majority.

56% of people in Northern Ireland voted against Brexit while there is widespread opposition to the idea of introducing a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

With Nationalists expected to outvote Unionists in the near future, one cabinet minister has suggested a border poll is a “realistic possibility” should the UK leave the EU without a deal.

Northern Ireland voted against Brexit by a large margin of 56 percent. There is also widespread hostility to a hard border and demographically the Nationalists will outvote Unionists at some point in the near future experts agree.

"If we are party to creating an environment of chaos, disruption, and uncertainty - that could move the dial", they told the BBC.

While one cabinet minister described the prospects of such a poll as “Very real” a third warned that the government was "sleepwalking into a border poll."

The UK government has until March 29th to negotiate a deal or otherwise face leaving the EU without a deal in an outcome on minister believes could prompt more significant changes.

"A no-deal Brexit is the way that's most likely to lead to a border poll and to people questioning the benefits of being in the United Kingdom," they warned the BBC.

"The dial hasn't been moved - the dial could be moved in those circumstances.”

Despite these concerns, a UK government spokesperson told the broadcaster: "There has been no change in position.

"It remains the Secretary of State's view that a majority of the people of Northern Ireland continue to support Northern Ireland's place in our precious union.

"The circumstances requiring a border poll - as set out in the 1998 Agreement - are not satisfied."